Bladder management during pregnancy in women with spinal-cord injury: an observational, multicenter study

Pregnancy in women with spinal-cord injury (SCI) poses a clinical challenge. We hypothesized that changes in the management of neurogenic bladder during pregnancy are commonly required and should receive more attention.

Data were collected by retrospective analysis of medical records and via cross-sectional survey of 52 women with SCI, representing 67 pregnancies, at ten Italian neurourological clinics. All participants provided informed consent.

Between 1976 and 2013, 39 participants had one child, 11 had two children, and two had three children. Mean age at the time of SCI was 18 years and at the time of first pregnancy was 30 years. Delivery occurred from weeks 32 to 40 in 98% of first and second pregnancies, and 94% of neonates were healthy. Oxybutynin was used by four women during five pregnancies, which resulted in delivery of healthy babies. Intermittent catheterization was used before 54% of first pregnancies and 39% of second pregnancies. Bladder management was altered during 45% of these pregnancies, and the most common changes were increased use or frequency of intermittent catheterization or use of an indwelling catheter. Urinary tract infections occurred in 48% of pregnancies, and an irregular course was reported in 13% of pregnancies mainly related to tetraplegia and urological complications.

Pregnancy in women with SCI generally has good outcomes and limited risks but frequently necessitates changes in the management of neurogenic bladder. High levels of awareness and focused monitoring of bladder issues are recommended.

International urogynecology journal. 2018 Mar 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Elena Andretta, Lorenza Maria Landi, Mirella Cianfrocca, Alberto Manassero, Oreste Risi, Giorgio Artuso

Urology Department, General Hospital, Riviera XXIX Aprile, 2, 30031, Dolo, Venice, Italy. ., Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute, Imola, Bologna, Italy., Spinal Unit, CTO Hospital, Rome, Italy., Neuro-Urology Department, Torino, Italy., Neuro-Urology Unit, Treviglio, Bergamo, Italy., Urology Department, General Hospital, Riviera XXIX Aprile, 2, 30031, Dolo, Venice, Italy.